Between the social and the selfish: learner autonomy in online environments

Lewis, Tim (2013). Between the social and the selfish: learner autonomy in online environments. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 7(3) pp. 198–212.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/17501229.2013.836202

Abstract

This paper explores what it means to be an autonomous learner in an online social context. Using distinctions originally drawn by Jürgen Habermas, it argues that classic accounts of learner autonomy as teleological action are inadequate to explain learner activity in group settings. It points out that learners in such settings display attitudes and behaviours identified with human sociality (empathy, altruism, reciprocity, fairness and collaboration). It argues that, far from undermining the concept of learner autonomy, this leads to a fuller picture of what autonomy might mean, when taken to incorporate the concept of respect for the autonomy of others.

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